Focus: Querying Large Video Datasets with Low Latency and Low Cost

MSR-TR-2018-1 |

arXiv:1801.03493

Large volumes of videos are continuously recorded from cameras deployed for traffic control and surveillance with the goal of answering “after the fact” queries: identify video frames with objects of certain classes (cars, bags) from many days of recorded video. While advancements in convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have enabled answering such queries with high accuracy, they are too expensive and slow. We build Focus, a system for low-latency and low-cost querying on large video datasets. Focus uses cheap ingestion techniques to index the videos by the objects occurring in them. At ingest-time, it uses compression and video-specific specialization of CNNs. Focus handles the lower accuracy of the cheap CNNs by judiciously leveraging expensive CNNs at query-time. To reduce query time latency, we cluster similar objects and hence avoid redundant processing. Using experiments on video streams from traffic, surveillance and news channels, we see that Focus uses 58X fewer GPU cycles than running expensive ingest processors and is 37X faster than processing all the video at query time.